Cells not the answer to the problem

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 24, 2008

Any self-respecting Southern Belle will tell you that a little hair and lipstick can do wonders to make things look a little better.

But sometimes dressing up something ugly just doesn’t help much.

Put lipstick and a dress on pig and it might look presentable for an afternoon soiree, but it’s still a pig.

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And, dressing up a couple of jail cells at the Adams County Jail may make some folks feel better about throwing mentally ill patients inside, but it’s still a jail.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Henry Watts summed it up.

“It might be padded, but it’s still a jail. We need a more suitable place for the mentally ill.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Now don’t get us wrong, the separate, padded cells are better than nothing, but Watts is correct — it’s still a jail cell.

Mental illness is something that strikes many, many families in our area.

And more than a few have been confronted by the problem of having a relative that becomes too difficult to control with no place to turn.

Too often, they’re left with no other option than to call law enforcement for help. The only problem is that these people are sick, they’re not really criminals. What they need is a medical facility, only mental illness doesn’t bring in dollars for hospitals like CT scans and heart procedures do.

Unfortunately, health care is all about dollars these days.

The county has made a good short-term effort by installing two padded cells at the county jail, but it’s hair and lipstick when plastic surgery is required.